The Separate Self, the True Self, and the Art of Concession
Here’s a question, for you, regarding my last few articles:
Why would I write about the nonexistence of personal control or choice and, at the same time, suggest that those who stop trying to control tend to make better life choices? As several of you have argued: “You’re contradicting yourself, Garret. You’re saying we don’t have control over our choices, and then you’re asking us to make the deliberate choice to stop trying to choose or control.”
Well, yes, I am. But totally on purpose. And here’s the reason:
To help move readers inward—to a change of heart, love, or the true Self—it seems logical to me to make a concession to the separate or personal self that most readers think themselves to be. That is, because the separate self thinks it possesses the power of choice, I’m asking the separate self to make the choice to turn its back on itself. This allows the mind to quiet and the feeling of personal responsibility to fade away. What then remains is the ONE being who is not separate.
Indeed, great teachers, from Jesus to Sydney Banks, understood and relied on this subtle art of concession. They spoke to “individuals” and their apparent free will, even though they knew that free will, or the power to choose, was merely a concept of the human mind. Again, from the perspective of one being or the true Self, no separate entity exists who can choose. But to get there, it’s necessary to appeal to the separate self and the conditioning that gives rise to it.
It’s also important to note that concessions are strictly made as stepping stones toward the easing of personal responsibility or burden. They never add it. For example, Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” (a concession to the separate self) not to bolster the delusion of separateness or to apply personal pressure, but to ultimately reveal that there are no others. Today, the overwhelming majority of teachers and coaches are offering up strategies and mantras (e.g., “it’s on you, look in the mirror, find your personal why, believe in yourself, or compete with yourself”) which reinforce the separate self and the burden that, by definition, it wears around its neck.
Bottom line? Over the past few weeks, I’ve made a purposeful concession. I’ve treated readers as separate entities with the hope that they stop trying to control, make deliberate choices, or assume personal responsibility. Only then will the true Self, who will always act peacefully, productively, and in concert with the greater good or universe, effortlessly emerge.
Thank you for reading,